I love this photo.

I took it outside a church in Bethlehem in Palestine last April, and it reminds me that God is God of all people, not just ones that write like we do and talk like we do and live like we do.

It also reminds me that there are hurting people everywhere.

Sometimes it seems like there aren’t enough candles to light for a world so full of hurt.

What are people of faith supposed to do with this much pain?

We hear about the ambulance packed full of explosives that blew up a crowded street in Afghanistan, killing ninety-five people and wounding over 150. We hear about the school shooting in Kentucky a week ago- the eleventh school shooting in our country in just 23 days. We don’t have to go miles down the road or across the globe to find pain. We know neighbors and friends who are suffering, and we hear about others across town with problems we can’t imagine.

I’d say we could pray- which we do, when we remember, when we make time in the busyness of our days. But then I think of the God of Moses, saying to him as Moses leads God’s people towards the sea, the pharaoh with his chariots hot on their trail, “Why do you cry out to me? Tell the Israelites to go forward.”

Go forward. Do something. DO SOMETHING.

As we listen to our leaders speak about the state of our country, our world, it is good for Christians to remember where our true allegiance must lie.

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

We are instructed by the One we serve to do our best to create (with God) God’s kingdom on earth, not wait to enjoy it in heaven.

We follow Jesus, who taught us to put our brothers and sisters of the world first, not the empire. To take care of the least of these, to welcome the stranger, to care for God’s creation. To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

We give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, but we don’t make him Lord of our lives. That role belongs to the God of all people.

Where did I put my candles? It might be a good time to light one.